HQ Trivia Parent Company Plans Board Member Swap Amid CEO Search

Merci Grace-Publicity-H 2019
Rob Villanueva

Lightspeed Venture Partners' Merci Grace will join the Intermedia Labs board as colleague Jeremy Liew plans to transition out of the role following the hiring of a permanent CEO.

HQ Trivia's parent company plans to shuffle its board of directors once it has completed its search for a new CEO. 

Intermedia Labs, which owns the interactive entertainment app, will add Lightspeed Venture Partners' Merci Grace to its board. She will take the Lightspeed seat currently occupied by her colleague Jeremy Liew, a director at Intermedia from the beginning, who plans to transition off the board once a CEO has been named to make room for an additional independent director. Co-founder and interim CEO Rus Yusupov and Tinder CEO Elie Seidman currently also sit on the company's board. 

Grace's appointment comes amid a period of upheaval at HQ Trivia following the death of co-founder and CEO Colin Kroll in December. The entrepreneur been named the chief of the business in August and replaced Yusupov in the role. Recode later reported that Kroll's appointment came amid tension between the two founders that led another director, Founders Fund's Cyan Banister, to step down. 

The Intermedia board has begun an active search for a permanent CEO. Once that person is selected, Yusupov will transition to the role of executive chairman, where he will focus on strategy and work to support the CEO. 

"As a co-founder and the single largest individual shareholder of this company, nobody wants this company to be great more than me," Yusupov said in a statement. "The ultimate goal of these changes is for Intermedia to have a bigger and more positive impact in the world." 

Grace will bring will bring several years' worth of product experience, having spent time at Electronic Arts, CouchSurfing and Gigwalk before joining Slack in 2015, where she eventually led growth. "Here’s what HQ Trivia, Tinder and Slack have in common: They are products people love with record-breaking growth," Grace said in a statement. "Between my experience at Slack and that of Elie from Tinder, I think we will be able to materially help HQ continue to grow."

HQ Trivia launched in 2017 and quickly racked up millions of players to its daily live, interactive trivia matches. In March 2018, it raised $15 million from Founders Fund and Lightspeed at a $100 million valuation. Following its initial period of growth, it faced concerns about a stalled user base and questions about its long-term growth strategy. More recently, it has looked to expand its offerings, launching spinoff HQ Sports and a new puzzle game called HQ Words. Recent brand integrations have included a Super Bowl halftime show offering a prize of free Wendy's burgers for life and a show that promoted the Warner Bros. film The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part by turning regular host Scott Rogowsky into one of the popular toys.